Where much of secular slowcore tends to have bleak lyrics and leaves the listener in a sad wilderness, Christian slowcore, like the records of The Hedgerow Folk, have lyrics that point the listener to deeper relationship with Jesus. Their new record, Compass, takes time with slow builds, downbeat melodies, and arrangements that utilize few instruments. Switching between the tender vocals of Amanda Hammett and the yearning twang tinged vocals of Jon Myles, ten songs dwell on healing, and faith for those who feel lost. In a growing trend among Christian musicians,The Hedgerow Folk see themselves more ministry oriented than as a traditional band. Predominantly using guitars, accentuated by various organs, harmonica, and assorted virtual instruments, Compass, takes us on a journey that is subdued yet rich with earnestness.
This is definitely not a record you want to have on while driving around town or on long journeys, unless the road you are driving down is within yourself. Compass begins with a stroll through a lazy open field with a friendly harmonica humming gently along. Drifting in and out of echoing guitar strums, Jon Myles voice imprints a distinct longing that never tires or lacks in emotional depth, while Amanda’s delicate harmonies add an additional softness. “I Still” further ventures with the lyrical theme of journey and focuses on the perils of our flesh and the faithfulness of God, it’s an excellent song to think upon. “Fever” really packs an emotional wrenching vocal performance that must be heard in order to really feel the full impact. “Nothing to Prove” and “Scars” have a more neo indie folk feel, that has a sense of weight dissipating into the ether. Both explore the depth of relationship and intimacy of relationship with God.
While this is excellent neo folk, slowcore with a Christian theme, slowcore is not for everyone. It is slow, snail pace slow. Which is fine, because it does state that we are to be still and know that He is God in the Bible, but when a record is slow, you start to notice small flaws and they become magnified. The arrangements are fine, the vocals are great, but there are some virtual instruments that sound a bit harsh on the ear, because with most virtual instruments, they are recordings of someone recording individual notes and not an actual performance, so they sound a bit jerky and stiff. The underlying composition is fine, just not the ‘performance’ of the VIs.
Jon Myles voice is fantastic, Amanda Hammett’s harmonies and voice is a soft cloud on a summer day, and the songs in Compass are lovely and have good theology behind them.
Should you? Yes… if you love slowcore and want to support artists creating music like this! Cuz, if you like it, you should buy it.
The Hedgerow Folk hail from Auburn, Alabama.
Click on the image below to purchase Compass